Ophir Paz-Pines is a candidate for political sainthood. As reality would have it, however, saints and angels do not build states, and are certainly not the stuff leaders capable of defending it against their Arab enemies are made of.
No wonder that the radical Arab Israeli Knesset members cheered on the na ve Paz-Pines and embraced him with open arms. Among these Knesset members, who have the gall, together with Paz-Pines, to maliciously bad-mouth Avigdor Lieberman and accuse him of being a "racist," is MK Ahmed Tibi, who as far as I am concerned is an outright anti-Semite.
What is Tibi if not a poor man's Josef Goebbels, who just this week (in Haaretz) stated how much he misses Yasser Arafat - despite the fact that even a blind man in a chimney can see the thousands of corpses, both Palestinian and Jewish that that despicable war criminal left behind, especially after he created the suicide-bomber industry.
The Labor Party need not worry. There is no danger that Paz-Pines will ever win its leadership. He belongs to that large band of losers known as the "young generation" that arose in the Likud, Labor and other political pastures, like Dan Meridor - Right and Left - who have the ego of a Gulliver and the capability of a do-nothing Lilliputian.
Where is Haim Ramon, now so tight-lipped, after all the bells and whistles he let fly with his infamous "whales" speech? Where is Shimon Sheves, who once informed us that "the state has gone down the drain." Poor man. He must be homeless.
And the nerve of MK Collette Avital to covet the presidency: The effrontery of such pedestrian politicos to display their appetite for power and authority is stupefying. And let's not forget the amazing MK Shelly Yacimovich. Her pathetic moral contortions leave one speechless.
PAZ-PINES's supporters explain that his "conscientious resignation" will make it possible for him to return to leadership like others in Israeli history. Remember Moshe Dayan, who resigned as minister of agriculture, only to later become minister of defense and foreign affairs. Yitzhak Rabin resigned as prime minister in 1977 and came back in 1992 as prime minister again. And Ariel Sharon resigned government service twice, and once was even ousted - by the Kahan Commission as a result of the Sabra and Shatilla blood libel - and he was twice elected prime minister.
All this is of course true, but each of these eminent statesmen had already made a record for himself of glorious achievements before resigning. That is what eventually got them elected to the country's leadership. What record of action on a national level do Paz-Pines, Ramon, Collette Avital and their ilk have? Nothing!
Nothing, except their own inflated egos.
Indeed, a large proportion of the politicians in the Knesset and current government have nothing to show for their time on the public payroll but their own greed and avarice, and their desire to hold on to their seats at any price.
Never before, in the 50 years that I have been covering national affairs, reporting on military, intelligence and police matters, have I encountered such a collection of zeroes like the ones running the country today. To say nothing of the large number facing criminal charges.
Indeed, if we had the time, the best thing would be to rebuild the whole edifice, from the foundations up - because the rot is so pervasive that the ceiling could fall in on us all at any moment.
That is why the political featherweights that have come in the wake of the giants who built the state should not be allowed to maliciously and slanderously besmirch the names of people of action - even if they are not saints like the preposterous Paz-Pines. Lieberman comes up with a practical solution, to exchange territory and citizens, and people of malice call him a "transferist." Tibi, who pines for Arafat, is the real racist; he is not fit even to shine the shoes of the distinguished minister in Israel's government and a fitting response to Tibi-Arafat's brand of fascism.
If MK Binyamin Netanyahu, whom all would agree is a gifted leader, has a lapse of the tongue and the memory, and then tries to correct his mistake, that is no reason to make him the butt of nasty jokes, insinuating that he is a pathological liar.
The ease with which stigmas are attached to talented leaders only in order to disqualify them in advance - such as in the case of the talented Ehud Barak - while demonstrating a favorable bias for the political impotents that they revere (Ami Ayalon, Avishay Braverman and others) has become a national sport. I became very familiar with this method of character assassination in my 50 years at Ariel Sharon's side.
As stated, saints and angels don't build countries or defend them. That can only be done by born leaders, flesh-and-blood trailblazers of great accomplishment and known drawbacks.